Peter is a 70-year-old farmer in Kwale, Kenya. He is incredibly active for a man of his age. What drives him? His family. Peter takes significant pride and responsibility for his family. He wants everyone – from son to great grandchild – to have the opportunity to be happy.

Being a smallholder farmer, with very little training and understanding of farming, has meant he and his wife have had a subsistence livelihood. Desperate to make something of his farm work, at times he would be planting 10 crops on his small plot of land. Not knowing how to maintain the soil or the optimal time to plant specific crops, meant often many of these crops either failed or had poor yields.

Supporting Smallholder Farmers like Peter

When the team at Business for Development and Base Titanium met with Peter to discuss the opportunity to grow cotton, Peter was receptive. He saw the potential and was open to learning new ways to improve his farm. As part of the pilot program, Peter was given 55,000 shillings (AU$666) which gave him the financial security to try new approaches for a season.

Since 2014 Peter and his family have thrived.  Access to mechanical assistance to develop his land, training in Good Agriculture Practices (GAP) and provision of the inputs that enable him to achieve the best yields have resulted in his family moving from living below the poverty line to doubling their income.

And boy is Peter proud. He is a model farmer that locals visit to see the impact the changes have made. More importantly to him though is his family. His son has come back to live with him, he’s built another home, and he can support his wife.

Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?